CPR on a child is essential in emergencies because it can help restore breathing, circulation, and consciousness. When a child stops breathing, their oxygen supply is cut off, and their brain is deprived of oxygen. CPR can help restore oxygen flow to the brain, preventing further damage and potentially saving the child’s life. It can also help to restore the heart’s normal rhythm and increase the chances of successful resuscitation. The quicker CPR is administered, the better the chances of a successful outcome.
Read the infographic below and learn the steps while giving a child CPR. Then you can test your knowledge, by taking our free CPR practice test.
1. Check for consciousness
The first step in child CPR is making sure to check if the victim is responsive by lightly tapping their shoulder and asking, "Are you alright?" If they can respond verbally or audibly, do not begin CPR.
2. Call 911
If the child is not responsive, call 911 immediately. If you are alone, perform 2 minutes of CPR before leaving the child to call for help. The CPR process should start immediately, as every minute counts. Quick CPR performance is the only way you can help the child survive, and a few minutes delays can worsen the situation. If anyone else is around, you should ask them to call for emergency medical services and bring the AED machine if available.
3. Begin CPR
Gently lay the child on a firm, flat surface. While lying on their back, gently tilt the child's head backward and lift the chin. Listen for any signs of breathing or occasional gasps of air for not more than 10 seconds.
- Give rescue breathing only if the child has a pulse but not breathing.
- If the child doesn't have a pulse and not breathing, begin CPR starting with 30 chest compressions, followed by two rescue breaths.
- Kneel beside the child. Place the heel of your hand on the center of the chest, right between the nipples.
- Place the other hand on top of the first, and interlock you r fingers.
- Press hard and fast on the chest at 2 inches deep, at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute.
- Perform 30 compressions, then give two rescue breaths in that sequence.
- Open the airway by putting one hand on the child's forehead and two fingers on the chin. Tilt the head back to a neutral position.
- Gently pinch the child's nose and cover the mouth with your own.
- In this position, breathe into the child's mouth twice.
Keep giving 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths until you see obvious signs of life, such as breathing or chest movement, specialized help arrives, the AED is available and ready for use, or you are too exhausted to keep going.
When the child starts breathing, put him in a recovery position and recheck the pulse and breathing while waiting for the emergency services team.
5. Use AED if available
The AED is a device used to restore the heart's rhythm in cases of ventricular fibrillation. The device has software that detects the heart's rhythm and indicates if an electrical shock could restore a regular heartbeat. If the heart is in a state of ventricular fibrillation, the device delivers a shock that restores it to its normal state.
During ventricular fibrillation, the heart is in chaos and unable to pump blood. It often results from a heart attack, affecting the ventricles or lower part of the heart. The condition leads to low blood pressure and insufficient oxygen supply to body organs. When these occur, the victim falls unconscious.